11 November 2012



Today is Veterans Day in the US, and Remembrance Day in the UK. I'd like to say THANK YOU in the biggest way possible to all of our veterans today! Your service has made and kept this country great, and I thank you for your sacrifice, because whether or not you ever saw "action", I know, after 15 years employment with the US Army, that serving in the military is a sacrifice of epic proportions. I have so much respect for the men and women I worked alongside while I was at Ft. Lee, Virginia. I know currently Active Duty and Reserve Soldiers and Marines. And every other veteran (Active Duty or Reserve) Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman deserve our utter and profound respect and pride.

My father was drafted soon after his eighteenth birthday in 1944. He served in the US Army in the Philippines during the occupation, I think. He never really talked much about his military service. I think part of that was that he was denied leave to come home for his father's funeral after a very unexpected death from a heart attack. In his words, he was guarding "empty warehouses" and nothing would change if he were sent home for a few days. Even intervention by the Red Cross would not sway the army's decision. Thus he was rather bitter about his service until much later in his life when he discovered his service entitled him to Veterans Affairs health care, which nicely supplemented his Medicare from the time he retired until his passing.

The picture to the left is Dad, in his official portrait, right after his induction.

He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge while serving. I have one of his medals for this award. You weren't just handed this badge for being "in theater", you had to see action. So I guess at some point, he had someone shooting at him, and hopefully, he was shooting back!

What no one in the family knew, until we received the bronze plaque for his grave from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC, was that he was also apparently awarded a Bronze Star. This is what I found about the awarding of the Bronze Star:
Authorization. Executive Order (E.O.) 9419 of 4 February 1944 as modified by E.O. 11046 of 24 August 1962 and the Defense Authorization Act of 2001, Section 1133.
Eligibility Requirements
Awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, distin­guishes himself/herself on or after 7 December 1941 by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight.
(a) while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
(b) while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
(c) while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
To justify this decoration, accomplishment or performance of duty above that normally expected, and sufficient to distinguish the individual among those performing comparable duties is required, although less than the requirements for the Silver Star or Legion of Merit. Minor acts of heroism in combat or single acts of merit or meritorious service in connection with military or naval operations may justify this award.
The recipient must be in receipt of Imminent Danger Pay during the qualifying period.
We had no idea. There was no ribbon amongst his personal effects, like the Combat Infantry Badge, but it could simply have been lost over time. Further research shows that you had to be recommended for this award by a commanding officer (not sure what level of rank this would require, but I'm guessing at least company level if not brigade or division). I am in the process of gathering the necessary information to apply to the National Archives to try to get a copy of the Citation that accompanies each award. {edit: My brother found dad's Service Record, and it lists the Bronze Star, so the VA should be able to supply the citation!}

I wish I'd had some inkling of this before dad passed away. I would have loved to know the circumstances of this award. But I guess some things just get lost in time. Anyway, again I say THANK YOU to all of our VETERANS on this special day of remembrance for them!
This is my dad with his two sisters, on leave between Basic Training and returning to his unit to be deployed to Japan, sometime around 1944-1945.

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